Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Catcher & DH

Buster Posey is a world champion & reigning #1 catcher on the Player Rater but he is not worth his ADP
Buster Posey is great but is not worth taking at his current ADP

Draft season is approaching and it seems that we still overthink how to handle catchers. While the production from the position and their ADP’s seem to be coming closer together, there are still owners out there who think that acquiring a top catcher is of the utmost importance. In that, a player like Buster Posey gets drafted too soon. He was the only catcher to crack the top 50 via ESPN’s Player Rater (he finished 49th). He and Jonathan Lucroy were the only two to finish in the top 100 (Lucroy broke out, finishing at 97). Even in two-catcher leagues, I think you can get by owning a top-12 option at the position and waiting until later on in your draft to gamble on a flier type. Devin Mesoraco circa 2014 comes to mind on the flier front.

Due to the declining power numbers in baseball, designated hitters are in transition as well. The top player at the position will be 39 this year and though there seems to be a player who can match Ortiz’s thump, Chris Carter’s batting average leaves something to be desired. 30-homers out of a single player will be rare in 2015, making Carter more valuable than he would have been otherwise. Whether it is the new age of pitching dominance or the emergence of shifts and specialty pitchers, run production will be in demand in fantasy next season. Power is such a scarce commodity that batting averages will likely be ignored if a player can produce 30 home runs. The stigma about a player that hits below .240 and launches 30 bombs is all but gone.

So how do we treat the players and rankings for these positions going forward? I gave my thoughts above about catcher, I try to target a solid top 10-12 catcher and get him at a fair market price whether in auctions or drafts then target a bounce back candidate or younger catcher who could break out later on. If the gamble does not work, there is bound to be someone on the waiver wire I can move on to. If any position in fantasy baseball is related to the kicker in fantasy football, it’s the catcher. Find one with a good chance to get at bats on a solid team and you’re golden. These are your Yan Gomes, Salvador Perez, and Russell Martin types. After that, take a flier or get two of the types above and gamble on upside later in the draft. But to spend a second round pick on a Buster Posey, as good of a real baseball player as he is, just does not make much sense to me.

Following up on my article about the NFBC’s top 200 by ADP, I will list the catchers taken in the top 200 along with their average draft position in the chart:
Catchers ADP Chart
As much as I liked Devin Mesoraco last year, I am shying away from him at the present cost this year. There are too many other players I will be targeting at pick 80. Knowing a catcher rarely makes the top 100 in overall rankings makes it tough to grab one early. Bounce back candidates include Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario and Brian McCann (if he can solve the shift). Stephen Vogt and Carlos Santana lose catcher status in leagues that use 20 games played for eligibility purposes, so that stinks. In an effort to gather statistics, I made a spreadsheet listing their projections by Steamer and CBS:

Catchers Projection Chart 1-6
Catchers Projection Chart 7-13

Two players catch my attention on the chart above; Evan Gattis and Travis d’Arnaud. One is limited by his defense and the other has durability questions. Rumor has it that Gattis will open 2015 as Atlanta’s left fielder now that Justin Upton has been traded to San Diego. This means good things for his value since he will not wear down physically due to the rigors of catching. This should allow him to get 500 at bats. That would be huge since he has hit 43 home runs in 723 career at bats in the majors. If he hits the magic 500 number, that would pace him for 29.74 homers if he maintains his career rates. 30-homer potential out of my catcher slot is something I will definitely be exploring at pick 125.

Travis d’Arnaud also has the ability to be a stealth starting catcher for fantasy owners in 2015, but he has to stay on the field. In the second half of 2014, d’Arnaud slashed .265/.313/.474 while hitting 7 home runs and showed us why he was a top catching prospect. He did appear in 108 games last year and had some bone chips removed in October, so if he is healthy and can stay healthy, then he represents a bargain in 2015.

Speaking of health, Yadier Molina is not even being drafted in the NFBC top 200 so if you like a low double-digit home run hitting catcher that will actually help your batting average then he is your guy. If a team has loaded up on power hitting early, then Molina is a perfect target to balance a team. Another player I like with spotty health issues but burgeoning power is Wilson Ramos. He may break my heart one more time but he can hit 18-20 home runs for Washington while batting .270. Speculate. One more target is Yasmani Grandal of the Dodgers. I think he can hit 15 or more home runs for Los Angeles and be a player that is the perfect flier type to pair up with an Evan Gattis. Every draft or auction is different but I think it will pay to wait at catcher.

Since only two designated hitters were taken in the Top 200 NFBC ADP’s it is not too hard to look at them. First here are their projections by Steamer and CBS:

DH Projection Chart

As much as David Ortiz can light up a room and hit home runs, power hitters do not age well. Ortiz has been defying the odds for years. I give him all the credit in the world, but with an ADP in the top 90, I think it is better to let him age on someone else’s team. It’s better to be a year early than a year too late.

Chris Carter does not always make contact, but he has hit 66 HR in 1013 AB's the last two seasons.
Chris Carter does not always make contact, but he has hit 66 HR in 1013 AB’s the last two seasons

Chris Carter will be a polarizing fantasy player since he is the prototypical three outcome kind of guy: a walk, a home run or a strike out. In fact, over his 572 plate appearances in 2014, 48% of his outcomes were one of the above. Carter hit 37 home runs, struck out 182 times and drew 56 walks. But over the second half he slashed a respectable .252/.338/.521. This was fueled by a line drive rate that he cannot maintain for a full season, but the seeds are in place for some growth. Both projections above account for a batting average in the Dunn range, but there is a chance he can hit .240 which increases his value. With the potential for 40 home runs at pick 140, I’ll gamble.

Values are likely to change as all of the sleeper lists and under the radar picks will be coming out, but having a grip on where to take a catcher helps. Don’t be that guy who grabs Posey in the second round to preserve your team’s batting average while other teams are collecting power. It is a precious commodity in fantasy baseball today.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, CBSsports.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/29PPDZ (Posey), http://goo.gl/SwH7RT (Carter)

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

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Top DFS Plays for 09/05/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Adam Lind vs. Clay Buchholz – hitting .347 (17/49) with 3 2Bs, a 3B, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs & 2 BBs

Adrian Beltre vs. Hisashi Iwakuma – hitting .357 (10/28) with a 2B, 3 HRs, 5 RBIs & a BB

Albert Pujols vs. Ricky Nolasco – hitting .545 (12/22) with 5 2Bs, 3 HRs & 10 RBIs

Josh Donaldson vs. Brett Overholtzer – hitting .462 (6/13) with 4 2Bs, a HR, 3 RBIs & 2 BBs

Chris Carter vs. Jeff Samardzija – hitting .417 (5/12) with 2 2Bs, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs & a BB

Chris Owings vs. Dan Haren – hitting .818 (9/11) 2 2Bs & a RBI

Austin Jackson vs. Scott Baker – hitting .353 (6/17) with 2 2Bs, a 3B, a HR, 2 RBIs & a BB

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Adam Lind

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Chris Sale vs. Cleveland Indians – Sale went 8 innings gave up 3 runs and struck out 9 in his last outing against the Indians. Sale is one of those pitchers I will always pay for.

Movie of the day: Fruitvale Station – Such a fantastic film which Michael B. Jordan just kills it. Folks the story is insane and is just a great overall film.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

My Experience at Minute Maid Park…..

So for the first time in a long time I am on vacation and we are spending it in the great state of Texas (I don’t know about this great thing yet) but so far we have had a warm welcoming time.

Today we did one of my favorite things to do (outside of pulling up to a movie theater) and that is go to the baseball game to catch the Houston Astros take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Very few things in this world really excite me than heading out to the ballpark for a game.

Pulling into downtown Houston is really nice, there are what you can tell some rough areas as well as some holy crap areas where you are just mind blown with what the houses look like. Well we pulled up to Minute Maid Park and honestly parking is some of the easiest I’ve ever met while at the stadium or venue. We found some parking I would say about a block from the stadium, which of course is always really good.

Now of course any trip to the ballpark wouldn’t be a fun time without a little snag right? Of course, so mine came when i went to pick up my “will call” tickets from the box office. Well as I got one of the first of many grumpy old women at the box office, this woman was just horrendous. I gave her my I.D. as well as the credit card I purchased the tickets from, both of which the email that was sent when I bought the tickets I would need and would easily be able to pick up my tickets. Well obviously it wasn’t that easy for this woman at all. So after a good solid 20 minutes of trying she decides she can’t help me anymore and sent me over to another woman. Well this woman was pretty rude at first and after realizing that the first lady was just completely inept at her job and didn’t help me at all, she got on the same page with me and finally got our tickets.

Well for today’s game we decided to go with the Coke Cola value deal tickets, which are the worst seats you can grab and you get a free coke, hot dog and popcorn for $20. Now of course the big entrée for this trip is the Astros/Rays game so we put more money into the tickets but for today and for me, it’s just about being able to go to the ball park.

We walked in and walked around a little and I was representing my L.J. Hoes t-shirt I bought on my earlier trip to Minute Maid Park. Well I really wanted a George Springer t-shirt to add to the collection so first thing after walking in I wanted to do is go pick one up. So after walking around the store and I tell you anything that you can possible think of they really decide to put a player or the team logo on. The customer service was very good while we were in there as well, I asked if they had the Springer shirt in a large in the blue, took her less than a minute to go to the back and grab me one and I was on my way. Another thing I like that they offer is the scorecard, which for those of reading that haven’t gone to the ballpark or don’t know what that is, it’s a card that you can follow each batter and record what he did during his plate appearance. Now this can be really fun or even a lesson you can teach if you bring the kids to the ballpark and can add another element to the game. But I always pick up the games scorecard and collect them.

One big thing about enjoying the game is the food and always trying something different or making it a little fun, so that’s what we did. Well lucky for us it was $1 hot dog night and we decided we were going to attempt a “Hot Dog Eating Contest”. Well folks that didn’t last very long, as I decided I was going to overflow my dogs with Jalapeño Peppers and just literally had my mouth on fire as well as I knew I was going to regret it later that night. So I think between the 3 of us we got down 11 of the originally 12 hot dogs we brought back to our seats. But again, the Dogs are a big part of a good time at the ball park.

We had a great view of the stadium, I am not sure there really is a bad seat in the house there and we benefited with having the front row seats of our section and we had the luxury of stretching and if you have ever been to a sports stadium you know how good it is to have that.

I was really excited to see this more fresh version of this Astros team which is different from the team I saw less than a month ago. Jon Singleton who had just recently been called to join my boy George Springer in the lineup got things started with a Sac Fly to put the Astros up early 1-0 in the 1st. The D’backs tied it up in the 3rd with a Sac Fly of their own. One of my least favorite things to figure out at a baseball game is when to get up and try to either get a refill or figure out when it’s time to get more food. Well as we decided to do that at the bottom of the 3rd inning, Jon Singleton decided he was going to the 1st pitch he saw from Miley in this inning deep to right field for a homer. I just knew something like that was bound to happen because it always does no matter which game I am going to see. Chad Qualls came in the 9th for the save for the Astros and gave up a homer to Miguel Montero and he blew the save. Luckily the Astros were able to enjoy a walk off via a Chris Carter (no not the football player folks) homer.

We got to see 2 fantastic plays, one was a diving grab in center field by Dexter Folwer which was just amazing and the other was Jonathon Villar with a nice diving grab at short to get an out.

So I decided since I was going to check my time at the ballpark I will breakdown the experience by how I felt about each thing. It is on a scale of 1-10, of course 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.

Parking – 10 – Honestly have been to a few ballparks and honestly there has been plenty of times where you are looking for parking for hours (LP FIELD!!!!) but this wasn’t the case here at Minute Maid Park. Easy to find and like I said earlier, within a few blocks of the stadium. 

The Food – 7 – I was surprised how easy the transition was for it being $1 hot dog night. It was available at a majority of the concession stands and it was a fluid and was very fast. Couldn’t have asked for a better transition even with knowing how busy they would be. The Hot Dogs were great! Tasted good and smothered them in Ketchup, Mustard and jalapeno. My other favorite thing to do at the ball park is to get the little helmets that they fill with ice cream. First I like to collect the little helmets and 2nd I am a huge I MEAN HUGE Ice Cream fan and being in Texas can mean only one thing, BLUE BELL Ice Cream is what is on the menu. One thing I do like that they do is they have a different “featured flavor” every night and tonight’s was Tin Roof. They filled that helmet up and I topped it with some chocolate and caramel syrup and it was perfection.

The Customer Service – 7 – The only thing that held this back from a 8-9 was the box office woman and honestly I didn’t let influence my choice much but with the little trouble I had, it was hard to let that not be apart of my final score. The people throughout the ball park are very nice, whether it was the woman who checked me out in the food line, the woman who helped me out in the Astros Store or the people who help you get to your seats. All very nice and very helpful. 

The Game – 10 – The greatest thing you can ever do is take the family to the ball park. Especially down in Houston,  you can take the family and just have a great time. It was great to see the young up and coming Astros players play and I think they have a bright future of them with all that young talent. 

Overall Experience – 8.5 – Just one little small hiccup at the beginning of the trip really held this being a 9 or 10 but at the end of the day, great customer service otherwise, great food and another fun day at the ballpark and you can ask much more for that…. 

If you are ever in Houston and have a chance to catch a game, I would. The stadium is beautiful and it would be a fun time at the ballpark for everything.

5 Questions Surrounding Fantasy Baseball 1st Baseman

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered me (Ricky Valero), Matt Wincherauk, Matt Bell and special guest Ricky Sanders (@RsandersFR) from Fakeroundball.com ( @FakeRoundball) as we are going to take a look at the 1st base.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 1st Baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

R. Sanders – Early in the draft, I love Cabrera and Goldschmidt, but think Encarnacion comes at a much better value with an ADP of 14 picks later. I rank Encarnacion in my top 8 overall. However, the player I’m targeting the most at the first base position is Matt Adams. With a full-time gig locked up, I expect huge numbers in his second season. Others I like at their ADP: Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Trumbo, Jose Abreu and Napoli.

Ricky – Of course if you have the likes of Paul Goldschmidt (my 3rd overall player) or Chris Davis, you’d be set at the position. But one guy I am targeting is Prince Fielder. He moves to hitter friendly park in Texas and he will have Beltre hitting behind him as well. Fielder will have a monster season.

Matt Wincherauk – I want Prince Fielder. The power hitting big man should benefit greatly from moving to Arlington, a place that he probably should’ve gone to in the first place. The Rangers offense looks to poised to rip through the entire AL and Prince will be one of the big catalysts.

Matt Bell – I think you have to say everyone is going to be looking at Paul Goldschmidt as their top 1B this year in fantasy, but for me if I can’t snag him early it’s going to be Prince Fielder. I think his value has dropped a little after a down year for him. He’s going to be playing in Arlington now and that is a hitter’s park, so I expect his homerun numbers to go up this year. If I can get Fielder a couple of rounds after Goldy goes I’ll be a very happy fantasy player.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

R. Sanders – Pujols’ bad foot has me worried about his prospects once again this season. He’s no longer the .300/30/100 guarantee he was at the beginning of his career. I’d rather take Allen Craig and Adrian Gonzalez who are going later.

Ricky – Joey Votto – While the runs and hits were nice he had a huge dip in his ISO, BABIP, OBP and SLG which all are cause for concern. While he has potential to be a solid Fantasy contributor I for one am staying away this season.

Matt Wincherauk – Adrian Gonzalez is who I’m going to be avoiding for the most part. He’s experienced big time drop offs in his power in the past few years, ironically ever since he left Petco Park and went to Fenway. He’ll give a good average, but I want more out of a higher pick.

Matt Bell – I don’t care where the value is in Albert Pujols, but I’m staying as far away from him as possibly this year. He’s been awful for the most part since leaving St. Louis and I’m just not willing to take a chance on him this year. He’s going to have to stay healthy before I’ll consider him in future fantasy drafts.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

R. Sanders – The biggest sleeper, like I mentioned in the opening, is Matt Adams. If you already drafted Adams and wanted another shot in the dark, I’d recommend Brandon Belt. This year, he should surpass his career high 509 AB from last year which could result in a .285+ BA/20+ HR/10+ STL type season. His current ADP is 137.

Ricky – Jose Abreu – While a ton of people won’t know who he is entering draft day, they really should. This guy can hit the ball and will do so this season. During the 2010-11 Cuban National Series He hit .453 with 79 runs, 93 RBI and 33 home runs in only 66 games. I like him to have a 20-25 HR season and finish among the top 1st baseman in 2014.

Matt Wincherauk – Jose Abreu is a popular choice, and for good reason. He may be unproven, but he’s got all the tools that made a guy like Yasiel Puig a megastar in an instant.

Matt Bell – The biggest sleeper this year is going to be Matt Adams as we saw some small flashes of what he could do last year when given playing time. The Cardinals have made room for him to be an everyday player now which makes him someone I will be very high on this year at the 1B position.

4 – Which player will be a bust for Fantasy owners?

R Sanders – Besides Pujols, I think taking Chris Davis inside the top 10 could result in a big fantasy bust. 53 HR could very easily end up being a career high for Davis. I don’t like taking a player who most likely won’t produce élite batting average, steals or runs scored numbers that early. If his HR/RBI numbers drop to around 35/100, he wasn’t worth the price. I feel more comfortable taking him in the second round.

Ricky – Chris Davis – People will draft him off what he did last year and rightfully so but I think he sees a decline in the numbers but still has a solid season. But he just doesn’t match his number to justify a 1st round selection.

Matt Wincherauk – Mark Trumbo is my choice here. He’s been on the decline for a few years here in terms of his plate discipline and his average as well. He’s not someone who I’m going to trust, and looks prime to be a bust.

Matt Bell – The player I’m fully expecting to be a bust this year will be Chris Davis. He will still have a good year I believe, but nowhere near the type of season he had last year. I’ve saw him going in the 1st round of some mock drafts and he will not live up to that position. I won’t be surprised to see him struggle to hit 40 home runs next year.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

R Sanders – My bold prediction is for Matt Adams. With a full season of playing time, I think he could go .285, 30, 100 RBI with around 85 runs. I rank him inside my top 10 at first base even though 14 are being drafted before him at the position.

Ricky – Albert Pujols will hit 34 HRs this season. I think he still has a few good seasons left in him and coming off an injury/disappointing season, he should bounce back well.

Matt Wincherauk – Paul Goldschmidt will lead the NL in both homeruns, and RBIs and will fall short of the triple crown only in the average area. That is arguably the next best all-around hitter besides Miguel Cabrera.

Matt Bell – The bold prediction for the 1B position is that Anthony Rizzo will bounce back in a huge way this year hitting over 30 home runs and have an average of around .290 on the year.

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! Over the next few weeks we are planning on getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts that you have. This week we are sending out our initial 2014 rankings that we will updated as Spring Training progresses. The week after we are going to answer 5 questions about each position as well as giving you some insight into some players that we like as well. Matt Bell joins me today as we unveil our 1st base rankings as well as take a look at one guy we like higher than his ADP and one we have lower than his ADP.

2014 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base rankings (as of 02/18/14)

Ricky Valero Matt Bell
Rank Player  Player
1 Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt
2 Chris Davis  Prince Fielder
3 Prince Fielder Joey Votto
4 Edwin Encarnacion Freddie Freeman
5 Joey Votto Allen Craig
6 Freddie Freeman Chris Davis
7 Adrian Gonzalez Edwin Encarnacion 
8 Eric Hosmer Eric Hosmer
9 Albert Pujols Adrian Gonzalez
10 Buster Posey Buster Posey
11 Allen Craig Mark Trumbo
12 Brandon Belt Anthony Rizzo
13 Carlos Santana Brandon Belt
14 Mark Trumbo Carlos Santana
15 Jose Abreau Ryan Howard
16 Mark Teixeira Albert Pujols
17 Anthony Rizzo Matt Adams
18 Brandon Moss Mark Teixeira
19 Matt Adams Mike Napoli
20 Kendrys Morales Brandon Moss
21 James Loney James Loney
22 Mike Napoli Jose Abreu
23 Adam Lind Justin Morneau
24 Justin Morneau Kendry Morales
25 Ryan Howard Adam Lind
26 Yonder Alonso Yonder Alonso
27 Corey Hart Chris Carter
28 Adam LaRoche Adam LaRoche
29 Ike Davis Cory Hart
30 Chris Carter Ike Davis

Why I ranked (blank) higher than his Current ADP (ADP average comes from the rankings at Fantasypros.com)

Ricky – Adrian Gonzalez – He has an ADP of 11th overall at 1st base and I have him sitting at #7. Gonzalez has been very consistent fantasy option over the last 3 seasons averaging .310, 190 hits, 22 HRs, 108 RBIs and 84 runs. While he doesn’t show the power he once had, he is in a very potent offense in which he is batting cleanup in and he should easily see his numbers duplicate what they were a year ago.

Matt Bell – Allen Craig is a guy I’m higher on that most people as he’s 5th in my ranking while carrying an ADP of 11th among 1B. Craig missed some time due to injury, but if he can stay healthy at his age I think he can carry your fantasy team. He’s hit for an average of .306 in his career and could go over 100 RBI’s this year in the Cardinals Line up.

Why I ranked (blank) lower than his current ADP.

Ricky – Anthony Rizzo – Current ADP is 15th and I have him ranked 17th. It’s really not that much of difference but he has a big upside to him if he lowers his strike outs. I don’t see that happening. In his 1st full season he struck out far too much for my likening and honestly would rather have a guy like Jose Abreu or Brandon Belt who are being drafted 2-3 round later.

Matt Bell – Albert Pujols has a ADP of place 7 while in my rankings you will find him ranked 16th. I’m not high on Pujols at all this year as he’s battled injuries the last year and is only getting older. I firmly believe there is something wrong with him that will keep him from ever performing at the high levels he use to. Is Albert Pujols going to be a terrible player this year? No, probably not, but he’s going to hit .300 and justify a top 5 round pick in my book.

Yesterday I started with my Catchers and you can check them out here:  http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster  and Matt Bell @Mattbell211 and we will answer any and all questions.

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